September 19, 2012

Guantánamo’s youngest captive turns 26

Omar Khadr of Canada, who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15, is now 26. Khadr admitted in a 2010 plea agreement that he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier and is serving an eight-year sentence.

Guantánamo’s youngest captive, Omar Khadr of Canada, turned 26 at the U.S. detention center in southeast Cuba on Wednesday — and got a visit from a Canadian government official.

Khadr, who was captured by U.S. troops at age 15 in Afghanistan, is suing through his Toronto lawyers to serve out his remaining prison time in a lockup in Canada.

Under a 2010 plea agreement, struck in consideration of his age, Khadr got an eight-year prison sentence for admitting to war crimes at the Guantánamo war court, notably admitting that he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in a July 27, 2002 firefight near Khost, Afghanistan.

Under the deal, worked out with Canadian diplomats in 2010, Khadr was eligible to return to Canada in October 2011 to serve up to seven more years in a Canadian lockup. But Canada has yet to formally seek his repatriation from the Obama administration.

The public safety minister, Vic Toews, has been reviewing Khadr’s file, including videotapes of mental health experts questioning Khadr in the prison camps. Toronto attorney John Norris has filed a suit against the Canadian government, seeking a court to order Toews to design a Canadian detention plan.

Wednesday, a military source told The Miami Herald, that Khadr was getting a prison camp visit from a Canadian government official. The Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C., had no immediate comment and could not say when a Canadian consular official last visited their lone citizen captive at Guantánamo.

As of Wednesday, the Pentagon was holding 167 captives at Guantánamo, ages 26 to 65.

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Carol Rosenberg


Carol Rosenberg reports on Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the place, policy, people, war court.

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